10 tips to keep your kids and teens safe online


Man helping small one, courtesy of ShutterstockAccording to a recent report, 86% of 7-11 year olds and 96% of 11-19 year olds are communicating online.

So here are 10 tips for you to share with your youngsters, to help make sure they’re clued up about internet safety.

1. Lock down your Facebook page. Make sure your profile is only shown to your friends – not their friends too and certainly not the whole world! It’s good to check your privacy settings regularly, too, because Facebook often updates them.

2. If you don’t know someone on Facebook, don’t be tempted to accept their Friend request.

3. Don’t post anything anywhere on the internet if you don’t want the world to see it. Once you’ve uploaded something, you cannot be sure that it will stay with just the person you’ve sent it to. So if it’s private, don’t share it!

4. Never give out your address, unless your parents have said it’s safe and it’s absolutely necessary (eg. when you are requesting a delivery). And never agree to meet in person someone you’ve met online.

5. Make sure you password protect your phone or any other device you use. And lock it when you’re not using it.

6. Don’t click on suspicious-looking links. If something looks strange to you, ask a parent or teacher if it’s ok to click on it.

7. If your friend has sent you a message but it looks weird, or isn’t something they’d usually say, check with them before you open it. It could be that someone is using their account to send messages which could be infected with something nasty.

8. Always log out! Make sure you don’t leave any account open when you go away from your computer, phone or other device.

9. Follow these password rules:

  • Never choose passwords which are real words you’d find in the dictionary. Use a mixture of upper and lower case letters, swap out letters for numbers, and use symbols like % and $ too.
  • Make your password as long as possible. The longer it is, the harder it is to crack.
  • Be creative! Never just use the name of your favourite sports team or band, or your pet’s name. They are too easy to guess, especially if you’re previously shared that information online.
  • Use a different password for each website you use. If you struggle to remember them, you can use online ‘password management’ software to save them for you. But remember to make your ‘master’ password VERY hard to crack!
  • Don’t save your password to your computer if you share it with anyone. And never give anyone your password. Not even your best friend. It’s not silly to keep your password to yourself, it’s safe!

10. And finally, if it doesn’t look right, speak up! If you think something is suspicious or if you see something upsetting online, tell a parent or teacher, or report it to the website you’re trying to use.

The Safer Internet Centre have released a quiz for people to check how safe they’re being online.

And once you’ve got your children sorted online, you can always try to explain phishing to your Grandma.

Man helping little one image courtesy of Shutterstock